Cerberus (2005)

Cerberus (2005)

Three Times the Terror

The priceless breastplate of Attila the Hun is stolen by a criminal gang in a raid on a museum in Bucharest and the curator is killed. According to legend, the breastplate reveals the location of the Sword of Mars which made Attila invincible and would do the same to any such man who would wield it. Unfortunately for them, the gang needed the curator to decipher the breastplate. So they head to New York to go to their next best solution – his former assistant, Dr Samantha Gaines. Her partner is kidnapped by the gang and she is forced to travel to Romania to help the gang. Little do they all realise that guarding the Sword of Mars is Cerberus, a monstrous three-headed dog!

 

Another monster flick from the Sci-Fi Channel and another complete waste of time, effort and a decent mythical beast in Cerberus. Just like their other cookie-cutter genre efforts, you can plan out exactly where this is heading from the get go. Let’s check off the list: Mainly Eastern European cast because the film was shot somewhere in Eastern Europe on the cheap – check. One or two recognisable American actors (here it is the lovely Emmanuelle Vaugier) – check. Silly and unnecessary human villains (because a monster isn’t enough to keep interest in the Sci-Fi Channel’s monster movies anymore it seems) – check. Plenty of human fodder from both the good guys and the bad guys (mainly bad guys though) – check. CGI monster that only appears a few times – check. Extremely misleading plot synopsis and DVD cover – CHECK! Yawn.

As with all of these dreary Sci-Fi Channel films, the monster becomes second nature for some unknown reason. Surely if you’re marketing something then you have to deliver? Can’t we start taking studios to court if they fail to deliver what they promise? False advertising? The film sidelines us with a really weak plot about some North Korean criminal gang wanting the sword so that they can launch nuclear missiles against the US. Plenty of tough-looking guys walk around in suits and shades brandishing firearms. Enough of the Reservoir Dogs posing, can we get the damned dog killing people? Is it too much to ask?

These plots are just shallow ploys to do anything in the film other than show us the monster which obviously costs money to appear, hence the cameo role. It is clearly in the contracts of the Sci-Fi Channel writers that they must include human villains in these films. So roll out the clich├ęs: mad scientists, mercenaries, bent cops, greedy entrepreneurs and so on. It’s the turn of the mercenary here. Plenty of double-crossing with bad guys screwing over bad guys, bad guys screwing over good guys and local villagers getting screwed by everyone when a massive dog follows the good and bad guys into the village!

I hate dogs in real life. In fact I’m not really an animal person period. But there’s something about dogs I’ve never liked. However this overgrown puppy with three heads isn’t going to give me nightmares anytime soon. It looks terrible so there’s no wonder it was kept off screen as long as it was. But it’s not only the CGI that is terrible, it’s the interactions of the human cast. Usually there’s a reasonable degree of interaction with the cast and the actors usually do a decent, if not perfect, job of making you think there’s something there on screen even though you know there isn’t. However the actors in this film don’t even make the effort to do that. Given that the dog isn’t on screen a lot, you would have thought they’d at least try to go all out for its brief moment of glory. Hell, the mercenary kills more people than the dog in this film. So don’t expect loads of gory moments of people getting torn apart by three frenzied dog heads!

 

I keep watching these Sci-Fi Channel films in the hope that one of them will break the mould and actually deliver the goods instead of the same old retread. Cerberus blows big time and that’s all I’ve got to say on it. On the plus side it seems they’re running out of monsters to use. I’ve lost track of the amount of killer snake, killer shark, killer crocodile and killer bat films that have been made recently. What’s on the list next? Killer dodos? Killer hamsters? Now that would be an idea – just as long as there are no mad scientists hogging the limelight!

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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